6 WOMEN FILMMAKERS TO WATCH

When you think of filmmakers, who comes to mind? Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola (I’m a Godfather so…)? True, they are all amazingly talented directors, but where are the ladies at?! There are so many female directors that fly under the radar, creating beautifully made, originally scripted, insightful, approachable work that many have never heard of. That ends now! Get your popcorn ready and check out this list for who you should be keeping an eye on:

AVA DUVERNAY

With production credits such as “Queen Sugar” and “Selma” under her belt, Duvernay is on the road to becoming one of the most prolific female director/producers of our time. She is the founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement. She was also named one of “The 100 Most Influential People” by TIME Magazine in 2017 and became a member of the “Official Competition” jury at the 71st Cannes International Film Festival in 2018.

DEBRA MARTIN CHASE

This two-time Emmy nominee recently signed a multi-year first-look deal with Universal Television in 2017. As producer of “The Princess Diaries” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” Chase will be developing original content for network, cable and streaming services, along with pilots and historical projects. She has multiple productions already in progress with ABC and Bravo, and she is focused on bringing new voices to the table.

ELIZABETH KARLSEN

As a featured filmmaker at the BFO London Film Festive, Karlsen has no qualms about her right as a filmmaker. Known mostly for her 2015 film “Carol” and 1992 film “Crying Game,” she works to bring marginalized groups to the forefront by illustrating the need for girls/women to have role models in the industry. Her most recent project, “Colette,” is based on a French woman of the same name who was not given the ability to claim her own work, because she was a woman in the late 19th and early 20th century.

DEDE GARDNER

As the first female producer to win two Oscars for Best Picture – “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and “Moonlight” (2016) – Gardner has already made her mark. However, she continues to search for “inclusive stories” to tell and continuously improving on telling the stories that need to be told. Garner currently serves as executive producer for an FX anthology series, as well as President of Plan B Entertainment, a production company founded by Brad Pitt in 2001.

WANURI KAHIU

Having premiered her work in 2009, presented a short film at the Sundance film festival in 2010, and garnered Best Narrative Feature at the Pan African Film Festival and five awards at the African Movie Academy Awards, Kahiu is blazing her own trail. She has created her own genre of filmmaking, Afrobubblegum, that is unapologetically vibrant and hopeful. Her latest offering, “Rafiki,” tells the story of forbidden love between two women on opposing sides of society.

TINGE KRISHNAN

Named “One to Watch” by Moviescope Magazine in 2008, Krishnan is steadfast in making sure diversity on set is balanced and appreciated. She has steadily impressed with her films – “Groove on a Stanley Knife” (1997), “Shadowscan” (2001) and “Junkhearts” (2011) – and continues to hone her independent point of view. Paying close attention to themes of love and joy, her recent film “Been So Long” brings almost a child-like view to the streets of London.

Interested in discussing other women filmmakers with empowered vinas? Download Hey! VINA to get a movie club gang going!

FEARLESS FEMME FRIDAYS: 5 BADASS WOMEN IN THE NEWS

We’re back with another series of FEARLESS FEMME FRIDAYS! Rounded up this week are five *kickass* women who are proving that the future is female. Let’s keep celebrating the amazing things women are accomplishing around the world today and every day 💪🏼💃

JASMIN PARIS

Jasmin Paris became the first woman to win Britain’s 268-mile Montane Spine Race on Jan. 16. Paris beat her closest male competitor out of the 125 race participants by 15 hours and simultaneously broke the course record by 12 hours. Get. It. Girl. 🙌 Paris completed the course in 83 hours, 12 minutes, and 23 seconds–a full day faster than any woman had ever completed the course. Even more impressive, Paris was expressing milk from her recent pregnancy throughout the race.

Paris has a long list of brutal races under her belt, but the Montane Spine Race is known as one of the world’s most extreme. It takes place on the Pennine Way National Trail that starts in Edale in Derbyshire and ends in Kirk Yetholm, Scotland. Knowing how to navigate well is a must, as little marks mark the path through the muddy fields, steep climbs, sinkholes and gorges that racers must climb through in the middle of winter.

Paris has since been selected to race for Britain in the 2019 Trail World Championships in Miranda do Corvo in Portugal next June!

Check out Paris’s full story over at The Guardian.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, was sworn into Congress as the youngest representative ever on Jan. 3 to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District. Ocasio-Cortez is also the first woman of color ever to have run for the NY-14 seat, which is distressing when, according to censusreporter.org, 75 percent of the NY-14 district are people of color. Ocasio-Cortez won the popular vote over Republican Anthony Pappas with 78.2 percent of the vote. Born and raised in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez is committed to making education more accessible, reforming the criminal justice system, improving the job market, and expanding Medicare. Politics aside, Ocasio-Cortez is making history and continuing to prove to women everywhere that we can make big changes.

Find out more about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s background and mission at her campaign site.

MARI COPENY

Mari Copeny, 11, made waves on Twitter in December when she responded to conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren’s tweet, which stated that the “$5 billion spent on a wall will be the BEST $5 billion taxpayers EVER spent!” In response, Copeny noted how far $5 billion dollars could go in repairing Flint’s infrastructure to provide clean water to the nearly 100,000 citizens in her city. Copeny earned the nickname Little Miss Flint in 2016 after her activism for the Flint water crisis earned her national attention and a visit from President Obama.

Read more about Mari Copeny’s activism for Flint!

MILLIE BOBBY BROWN

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Courtesy of Millie Bobby Brown Instagram.

Millie Bobby Brown, 14, became the youngest ever UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador on World Children’s Day, Nov. 20. Appropriately, she will be advocating on behalf of children and young people everywhere to promote awareness of problems faced by the vulnerable population, including deficient education and the lack of safe places to learn, the prevalence of poverty and hunger, and the detrimental effects of violence and bullying.

Brown’s new title was celebrated at the United Nations Headquarters in New York where she said it was “a dream come true,” and “a huge honor” to join the Goodwill Ambassadors at UNICEF.

Brown has been involved with UNICEF since 2016 when she hosted the United Nations 70th anniversary celebrations. She was also active in promoting UNICEF’s World Children’s Day in 2017, leading her to the symbolic appointment last fall.  

Read more about Millie’s ambassadorship!

NNEKA OGWUMIKE

Nneka Ogwumike is the president of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association and announced in November that the association will be opting out of its collective bargaining agreement with the Women’s National Basketball Association in an effort to demand more equality between the NBA and the WNBA. In her essay “Bet on Women,” Ogwumike said:

“I don’t want the best and the brightest female athletes in the world dreaming about playing in the NBA. I don’t want the best and the brightest young girls growing up thinking that men are the pinnacle… I want them to dream about the league that I know ours can become. A league that has a fair and consistent work environment.”

Writer Alana Glass, a contributing sports writer for Forbes, wrote that Ogwumike’s coming changes will likely be “the most impactful collective bargaining agreements in women’s sports history.”

Ogwumike has quite the year ahead of her, but she’s armed with a passion for her league and for female athletes. 

“To me, opting out means not just believing in ourselves, but going one step further: betting on ourselves, but going one step further: betting on ourselves. It means being a group of empowered women, in the year 2018, not just feeling fed up with the status quo, but going one step further: rejecting the status quo,” she said.

Read Alana Glass’s article to hear Ogwumike’s full story, or read Nneka Ogwumike’s essay to hear her perspective.

The world is changing. Women are moving up. The future is female. Find the women who will lift you up on Hey! VINA!

5 WAYS SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH BADASS WOMEN EMPOWERS YOU

2018 was a tough and beautiful year for me. It brought painful life changes, valuable realizations and exciting new beginnings. Much of this was due to the support, insight, love and encouragement of the badass women in my life, who actively built me up and helped me recognize my self-worth. I have experienced firsthand the various ways surrounding yourself with such people can have an empowering impact, and I’m excited to share some of them with my VINA community!

INSPIRATION THROUGH THEIR SUCCESSES 😍

There’s nothing quite like seeing the women in your life succeed and getting to celebrate those successes with them. In a society still heavily dominated by men, these successes are all the more meaningful and inspiring, because they remind us we are also capable of achieving our dreams.

Badass women don’t hide their successes; they share them and use them to remind other women not to hold back or be intimidated. They are not threatened by others’ achievements and excitedly share their valuable insight with those willing to listen.

I’m surrounded by countless renegade women who are actively crushing it professionally and personally. They always own their wins and encourage me to do the same–something that can be difficult in a society where men are often encouraged to boast about their achievements, while women are chided for it.

Part of what makes these women so inspiring is their tenacity and drive to go beyond dreaming of accomplishments and to actively pursue them. For example, if they tell you they want to learn a new language, they’ll take the necessary steps to do so, motivating you to do the same with your goals.

THEY ACTIVELY AFFIRM AND BUILD YOU UP 💪

Badass women are quick to recognize when you’re down and all the quicker to remind you how valuable you are and how far you’ve come. They validate your experiences while helping you see the light at the end of the tunnel. They recognize the strength, resilience and potential within you and insist on helping you realize it.

After experiencing a difficult life change in 2018, I felt embarrassed, defeated, and valueless. During this time, I was living (temporarily) with two of the fiercest women I know. There were numerous nights I’d go home to their apartment feeling overwhelmed and depleted. They would immediately offer me warm hugs, hot tea and listening ears. When I doubted myself or my abilities, they pointed out what I’d already accomplished and helped me realize there was far more strength within me than I was giving myself credit for. Their love, kindness and wisdom helped me move forward and rebuild my confidence.

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JUDGMENT-FREE SPACES FOR SELF EXPRESSION 🦄

Badass women are too busy building each other up and getting sh** done to pass judgment on others. They cultivate healthy spaces for you to express yourself without feeling criticized. Do you love eating ice cream at 3 in the morning? No judgment. You’ve worn the same pair of jeans three days in a row? No judgment. You don’t see what all the fuss is about Meryl Streep? Okay, a little judgment, but they’ll still love you!
In judgment-free spaces like this, no topic is off limits.

While living with the powerful ladies mentioned above, I always felt safe opening up about my fears, insecurities and numerous vulnerable topics. Never once was I shut down or made to feel ashamed for what I shared. They encouraged me to be honest and open and made sure I always felt heard and validated.

THEY VALUE THEIR TIME ⏰

A common thread I’ve noticed amongst the badass vinas in my life is how they value their time and care for themselves. They suffer zero fools because they don’t have time to waste on them. They prioritize self-care and eliminate anything/anyone toxic from their lives. Badass women encourage you to follow suit—not wasting energy on empty things or allowing unnecessary negativity into your life. They are aware of their mental, emotional and physical needs and make sure to take care of them.

One such strong woman in my life is incredible at recognizing when she needs time to rest, relax and refocus. She identifies what she needs and values herself enough to prioritize self-care. Watching her care for herself inspired me to do the same—whether it meant stepping away from an activity for some me time, taking a quick nap to reset, or treating myself to a movie or a substantial portion of chocolate chip ice cream.

CELEBRATE WINS, GROW FROM FAILURES 🙌

Empowered women jump at the opportunity to celebrate your achievements. They’re excited to see you move forward and live your best life. They also come alongside you when you experience failure to share their own stories; They help you see where you can improve and what you can do to be successful in the future.

All throughout this past year, I’ve had a circle of vinas all around me to celebrate triumphs, big and small. They have cheered for me, affirmed me and made sure I took time to soak each one in. If things didn’t work out how I planned or turned into a complete mess, they offered me valuable insight and encouragement to help get me back on track.

The best thing about badass women? They’re everywhere! All around you are women taking sledgehammers to the glass ceiling and over-the-moon about equipping others to do the same. Empowered women empower women–they build each other up and help each other move forward. And, finally, badass vinas make sure you know you yourself are one badass woman.

Ready to meet some renegade vinas? Jump on the Hey! VINA app and get swiping to get connected. 

Q&A WITH THE MOTH’S “STORYTELLING GURU” KATE TELLERS

Hailed as a “storytelling guru” by the Wall Street Journal, Brooklyn-based Kate Tellers knows a thing or two about captivating an audience and relating to others. Finding her voice through the narrative podcast The Moth, she is now host and director of MothWorks, a program of workshops geared to harness the power of storytelling as a communication tool for business solutions. Her clients can range from stand up comedians to Fortune 500 CEOs, but they all have one thing in common: Once she’s done working with them, they understand the power of a strong narrative.

She sat down with VINAZINE to offer advice on role models, leadership, how to be a better communicator, as well as facing hard losses.

Q: Thanks for talking to VINAZINE! From your experience, what is the most important thing in creating genuine relationships with other people?
A: I think the answer is in the question: A genuine relationship is one that’s honest. Where each person accepts the other for who they truly are, and sometimes that person is messy, or can’t stop accidentally sharing spoilers for Big Little Lies, and that’s fine. That total acceptance lifts up the good stuff, too, because it just makes it easier to celebrate each others’ wins and leave competitiveness aside. That’s my friend, I know them inside and out and they damn well deserve that.

Q: For the novice, what is the key to being a good communicator and what steps can you take to become one?
A: So much about being a good communicator is about creating an authentic connection with an audience and making them care. The best thing you can do is consider what it is that you’re trying to communicate and why you, personally, care about it. If you care, then your audience has a reason to and the inspiration to lean forward and listen. We’re constantly being communicated at; The best communicators can get to the heart of the message, the big why underneath, and connect to that.

Q: What do you think is the most significant barrier to women leadership?
A: I think there is still inherent discomfort in the world with the experience of being a woman. We default to men in leadership because that’s what we know, because those are the stories that have always been told, and they’re familiar and predictable. So that has to change. We need to acknowledge our discomfort with what is different and less known, and truly commit to being aware of making choices that make things better, even if we’re moving into uncharted territory. Diversity, and this goes beyond gender, is essential. Challenging the norm doesn’t always feel easy or good, but new ideas and perspectives are the only way to progress.

Q: Your Moth story, “But Also Bring Cheese,” touches on losing perhaps the most important relationship in a woman’s life—that with her mother. In times of loneliness, where have you found your support system, and what would you say to others that are dealing with similar feelings?
A: After my mother passed away, we, her family and close friends, sat in her living room and told stories about her. My aunt told me about watching my mother dive down to roll around on the floor with me and my sister when we were little kids, and how it was so obvious how much she loved us. That memory has always stuck with me, and now that I have children of my own, I’ll have moments when I’m on the floor with them and I’ll remember how much I was loved and how I can show my love to my children in a way that sticks around longer than I might.

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Kate Tellers, courtesy of The Moth

A few months after she died, I went to a Moth event, and the act of listening to and telling stories has become fundamental to who I am. Telling a story about someone is the one real way that we have to bring them into the present, and it reminds us that the people and events that have come before us matter, and that part of them can live on forever.

So I’d say find a place where you can tell your stories. It could be on-stage with thousands of people, maybe it’s the regular practice of writing in a journal. Maybe you’ll find people who will listen and that will feel right; Maybe in thinking about your stories, a memory will pop up and feel like a visit. Perhaps you’ll notice similarities between the two of you that you never saw before, or maybe you’ll remind yourself of something she taught you, and that can be a way that she guides you into the future without her.

Also, every year on the day that she passed away, I do a toast. One year my husband, who never met her, learned how to make our family’s Lebanese spinach pies and we threw a party. Other years it’s just been us taking a moment to mark the passage of time without one spectacular woman. I find the act of remembering to be very healing.

Q: Give the younger you – the woman just barely beginning her career – the top three pieces of advice you’ve gained in retrospect.
A: One—Working with people means spending time with human beings. Take care of yourself so that you can be your best self with your colleagues, and treat them with genuine interest and respect. Two—More often than not, your managers and mentors care about your happiness. That doesn’t mean that it’s their job to give you only assignments that will spark full-blown joy, but they’re likely spending more time than you think considering how to make your work worthwhile, not only for your org. but for you, too. Three—Give your time to the things that make you happy, even if there isn’t an obvious direct route to a job. At the very least you’re setting yourself up should an opportunity arise, and you’re growing as a person who is more qualified to be in the spaces that move you.

Q: What is your definition of happiness?
A: I experience true happiness when I feel like everything that has happened in my life has led me to the moment I am living in right now.

Q: What woman inspires you and why?
A: Chicago’s first Commissioner of Cultural Affairs and subject of the wildly popular Malcolm Gladwell piece in the New Yorker, “Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg.” She was described in the New York Times as “a whirlwind of civic enthusiasm.” Lois had friends in social circles across Chicago and, as a “connector,” brought people together to better communities and bring art to new spaces. I admire that she maintained a diverse friend circle, and she was able to see the potential in those friends to come together and do great good.

Featured picture by Jason Falchook for The Moth.

Looking to connect with other inspiring women? Download the Hey! VINA app and start swiping! 

WOMEN’S MARCH 2019 RECAP: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

This year’s lead-up to the Women’s March was filled with great controversy, as leaders of The National Women’s March—an organization that derived out of the original 2017 march—faced anti-Semitic allegations.

In the face of this, two separate marches were held in NYC on January 19, 2019. The Women’s March Alliance held the original 2018 route, beginning on the Upper West Side going toward Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. The National Women’s March, having no permit to march, held a rally in Foley Square.

Amidst the divide, newly-elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attended both events, wishing to bring unity to the greater issues through her speech.

“It is so incredibly important to uplift all of our voices. And to make sure the least among us advocated the most,” she said. “That means we will not be quiet when it comes to the rights of black women. That means we will not be quiet when it comes to the rights of trans women. That means we will not be quiet when it comes to the rights of poor women. And middle-class women. And working-class women. And all women in the United States and in the world.”

“Last year we brought the power to the polls, and this year we need to make sure we translate that power into policy,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “That means we will not let anyone take our rights away. In fact, we will expand them.”

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Women’s March in NYC. Photograph by Corey Torpie © 2019

In Washington D.C., women and supporters in the thousands gathered, although amassing a significantly lesser number than the half a million people in the original 2017 march. Speakers from Black Lives Matter, Woman on Piscataway, Standing Rock Sioux Nation and union leaders shared their sentiments.

Dozens of U.S. cities participated with marches of their own, including L.A., Denver, Chicago and Boston, among others. More than 100 marches were scheduled worldwide.

As the years go on, it seems people are growing less attuned to showing up, due to several factors such as the aforementioned controversy, activist burnout and success in the debated topics.

In an article for the New York Times, Jo Reger, professor of sociology at Oakland University of Michigan, stated that “marches or movements can lose some momentum when people see some of their issues being addressed. With the recent midterm elections, some may feel like the country is going in a different direction after the Trump election and that may lower the numbers participating.”

Let’s show that women are here to fight for the long run and continue voicing our needs. There are 364 days left before the next Women’s March—what will YOU do to show up?

Featured image by Kisha Bari for Women’s March

Activism starts with community: gather your kickass vinas on the Hey! VINA app to talk all things equality, gender rights and more, then start planning for what you can do next 2020. The future starts with you!

 

100 YEARS OF POWER

I’ve been thinking a lot about June 4, 1919—the historic day Congress passed the 19th Amendment, granting all American women the right to vote. Tomorrow is the annual Women’s March, and 137 days until June 4, 2019, when it will be 100 years since that iconic date. 100 years of women’s suffrage; 100 years of women working to empower other women, 100 years of women speaking up, demanding change. 100. A big number and a small number all at once.

When I launched Hey! VINA, I knew I wanted to create a safe place for women to meet, connect, and join forces. I wanted us to have smart resources so that no matter where we are in our lives or in the world, we have the support system of other women in our lives there for us. I know that when you put a group of women together, sh*t gets done. As my friend Shelley Zalis of The Female Quotient puts it: “A woman alone has power; together we have impact.”

From the 19th Amendment to the #MeToo movement, history proves that women supporting women creates a wave of change. And not just any wave—but a tidal wave.

We see it with women like Tarana Burke, who started the Me Too movement in 2006, which led to 252 celebrities, politicians, CEOs and others accused of sexual misconduct since April 2017. Or newly elected U.S. congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib—who call one another “squad” and “dream team,” as they band together to put an end to the patriarchy that has upheld male power and privilege for far too long. Malala Yousafzai, who is fighting for millions of girls around the world to go to school. Or the sister survivors who bravely testified against U.S. gymnastics Olympic team “doctor” Larry Nassar, joining together to not only put him behind bars but to dismantle the system that allowed him to hurt so many, despite countless reports, warnings and red flags.

The list of women in this tidal wave is endless—and it’s only getting bigger.

It’s about damn time! For far too long, we’ve been living in the culture of patriarchy, where women were portrayed and taught by men-led entertainment companies and T.V. shows to compete with one another and become ‘frenemies.’ If we weren’t fighting over a guy, then we had to be fighting over a job, or a shirt, or a diet. I can’t even count how many times I’ve explained Hey! VINA to a man, and he’s exclaimed, “I thought women hated each other!” No bud, that’s just simply not true.

But we’ve flipped that script. We’ve leaned in. We’ve leaned out. We’ve linked up. We’ve supported each other—in every tagged #BelieveWomen meme, in every hashtag, in every march, we’ve fought the false narrative of women and how we see each other.

When I envision the future generations of women and what the picture looks like for the next 100 years, I see community, not competition. I see strength. In the next 100 years, there won’t be a day when we have a dream that feels too big for us. We will always feel supported. We will always feel like we have a network behind us, cheering us on, picking us up when one of us falls down.

We are laying the future of friendship right now. Today. We waste no time. We know there is a real human need for friendship. With loneliness being the biggest health epidemic of our time—equated to smoking 15 cigarettes a day—our health, happiness, and lifespan depend on making these solid, meaningful connections.

We know that women live about five percent longer than men—and our demand for community and need for sisterhood could be the reason, “Some have posited that the reason for females’ longer lives is due to our abilities in the social sphere,” says Amy Yotopoulos, Director of the Mind Division at the Stanford Center on Longevity. 

Could investing in your social life be a key factor in living to 100? Science says it certainly can! Not regularly spending time with friends and prioritizing your social connections has shown to reduce your lifespan by 30%, but on the upside, having close friends and spending time with them has shown to increase your lifespan by 50%.

We need these close bonds to keep the momentum going—so I’m making a 100 year commitment to you with Hey! VINA. In honor of the upcoming 100 year anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and in effort to help you live to centenarian status, I’m introducing the Hey! VINA Century Club. We’re offering a limited group of vinas the opportunity to join our Century Club, which means that you have 100 years of VINA VIP status. You’ll get all the amazing benefits of being a VINA VIP on the app, but more than that, you’ll be investing in the future of friendship for you and for women everywhere for the next 100 years.

We’ll add 100 years to your life. 100 years of vinas to meet. 100 years of friendships that will help you get through any hardship you face. 100 years of laughs. 100 years of a shoulder to cry on. 100 years of sisterhood.

Let’s live it up for the next 100 years together, and become a VINA Century Club member. Just look at all that women have accomplished together in 100 years. What does the next 100 hold for us?

Want to become a VINA Century Club member? Sign up on the Hey! VINA iOS app. 

5 HABITS OF A SUCCESSFUL VINA IN THE WORKPLACE

As a woman in the motorsport industry, I’ve had many people come up to me and say, “It must be so hard to work in the industry you do—there aren’t many women in it.” I want to say it’s easy to work in this sector but the truth is, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I got the job two years ago. For every discussion or obstacle that came up, I would have to fight twice as hard to be heard because I was young and a woman.

In a matter of weeks, I developed five habits that have kept me sane and earned me the nickname of the Queen of Kings. Absorb these, vinas, and try it out in your workplace—you deserve that R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

BE PERSISTENT

If people in your workplace are disregarding your ideas and opinions with no basis to do so, it’s hard to keep fighting against that negativity—but instead of letting it get you down, use it as fuel to light your fire. They didn’t like your idea? Give them three more. Arm them with research, facts and, most importantly, keep using your voice. The only way someone holds power over you is if you don’t speak your truth.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHOSE SKILLS ARE BETTER THAN YOURS

This might sound odd, but surrounding yourself with people who are actually better than you at what you do will only make you better at what you do – are you following this? For example, when I started in my position, I had to cover all the marketing aspects as well as doing all the design elements. I didn’t know much about graphic design, but now I can whip together an entire corporate identity package because I made a friend who is an actual graphic designer and, just by engaging in conversation and observing him when he worked, I learned small details that made all the difference in the end results I produced. Seeing him do what he did made me want to better myself—not in a competitive manner, but as a way of self-improvement.

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ALWAYS LOOK TO MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER

If you believe something is not at the standard it should be, don’t let it stay that way—make it better. When I started at my job, there was a lot of marketing activities that were just done for the sake of being done; They didn’t get the care and
attention they should have been getting, or they weren’t projecting the message they should about the brand. I made it my mission to improve this in order to be an employee of value to my superiors and the company.

BE DIFFERENT

Don’t think outside of the box because everyone is doing that. Rather, think about how to deconstruct the box and create something new. As important as it is to create a new approach, it’s just as important to believe in your new concept. If you don’t believe in it, nobody else will.

BE A QUEEN

Not a drama queen, but as in knowing your worth. Be humble but stern. You deserve all the rights and respect as everyone else in the workplace. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Owning your space is always better with a support group cheering you on; download Hey! VINA and make connections that will have you feeling like your best self! 

THE SHINE THEORY: WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT

Happy 2019! Let’s start the New Year off right by talking about the Shine Theory. This concept, originally coined by journalist Ann Friedman and media strategist Aminatou Sow, is based around the idea that “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” It is all about collaborating and not competing with others, especially other women.

We applaud that over here at Hey! VINA. Imagine the jealousy and hatred we can eliminate if we befriend other females instead of hating them because of their accomplishments. The workplace is an incredibly hard place for ladies to succeed, so instead of competing for those female roles in the workplace, we should be teaming up and creating even more female roles! Surrounding yourself with powerful, successful, positive women will only make you a better person yourself. Use those connections as an inspiration, and be a role model for those who are not yet as successful. Share tips, tricks and advice with each other. And also be there for each other as a shoulder to lean on. Positivity only breeds more positivity!

 

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All the way back in 2008, President Obama’s female staffers noticed that they were the minority in the workplace and were being passed over in meetings. Instead of getting discouraged or becoming wall ornaments, they chose to back each other up. When one female staffer would make a point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to the original staffer. They began to do this on a daily basis until the men took notice. They called this method “amplification”. By President Obama’s second term, women were on par with the male staffers.

So what do you have to lose? Lights are brighter when shining together.

Jump on the Hey! VINA app and create a powerful, positive vina gang to start shining!

GASSING UP YOUR VINAS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

There is something electrifying about women having each other’s back. Women who stand by each other in the best of times AND the worst of times, that is an indescribable thing. When women stand together, we change the world. Statutes are amended, minds are changed, and the world just becomes a better place overall.

When I see pictures of the Suffrage Movement – women all over the world marching for a right to vote – or pictures from August 9th, 1956 when 20,000 South African women marched against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act, or the women in D.C. on January 21st, 2017 wearing pink #pussyhats, I see strength. I see power. I see what can happen when women do what women do best – love.

When I bawl my eyes out to my vinas and they say to me “you’ve got this” or “you can handle it” or “you’re doing great, just keep going!” Something in my soul shifts focus.  When you are so down that you can’t even help yourself up, there is something amazing about the strength of a sisterhood. Having the kind of girls who will either pull you up by any means necessary or go down there and get you themselves. It’s amazing when you can look at someone and genuinely say “you make my life better.”

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Photo from “Her Campus” on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/179440366389460429/

It’s SO important to surround yourself with empowering women who see your value and support your every move. It’s important to create and maintain bonds that will motivate you and be there when you can’t be there for yourself.

Here at Hey! VINA we believe that women are the glue that holds the world together. We are champions. We are warriors. We can do anything we set our minds to, and if we stand together and build each other up, we will do great things. It’s important to have that support system of ‘gassed up’ vinas around you because, as women, we can be so hard on ourselves that we forget what we can actually do. Can you imagine the change in the world if every single woman was as brave as a lion? Can you imagine how confident we would be if we all collectively decided to gas each other up? No more hatred, no more division, no more putting others down to lift yourself up. No more jealousy, or resentment, or judgment! Just imagine a world where every single woman you pass compliments you and you compliment her back. That’s a world I wanna live in!

Here’s a challenge for you, vinas. Today, as you’re going about your daily life, compliment as many women (known or unknown) as you can. Nice shoes. Lovely bag.  Gorgeous eyes. If you can get a little personal, do. You’re the strongest woman I know.  You are such a cheerful giver. You are doing so well, girl! Look at you go! You are the smartest person I know and if anybody can do this, it’s you. Think about how you feel when someone notices the work you’ve put into your life, and then go out and make them feel it too! Gas it up, vinas!

Still looking for your girl squad to gas up? No problem! Hit up the Hey! VINA app pronto and start spreading the good vibes!

WHAT #METOO HAS MEANT TO ME

The Me Too movement originally started in 2006 to empower women and girls of color find pathways of healing. Since the hashtag went viral, the conversation about sexual violence has been thrust into the national dialogue. Survivors from all walks of life have been coming forward to help end the stigma associated with trauma and the act of surviving by highlighting the breadth and impact of sexual violence worldwide. As of late, many things have influenced the way society is viewing and reacting to survivors. Those influences range anywhere from victims accepting that they are not alone, and realizing that others are and have been in the same place as they are, to stepping up and pressing charges against the abuser.

At the beginning of January 2018, as a response to #MeToo going viral, the Time’s Up movement was founded by various celebrities to support the stand against sexual harassment. By February 2018, the movement had raised $20 million for its legal defense fund and gathered over 200 volunteer lawyers. The Time’s Up movement is helping women take their abusers to court, and the defense fund they set up allows survivors to focus on their case and not worry about how much the legal fees will set them back.

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The #MeToo movement has allowed me to come to terms with my own sexual assault. For the longest time, I had just played it off. I hadn’t been raped, I hadn’t been violated. It wasn’t what I was raised to know sexual assault to be. But seeing all these powerful women speaking their truths and living their best lives by not letting the things that happened to them define them has allowed me to accept that I am not, nor have I ever been at fault. Even more than that, it has inspired me to speak about it openly with my friends.

I’m not gonna lie, everything about being a survivor is terrifying. And it took me a long time to stop feeling dirty and feeling my abuser’s touch. But empowered women have the ability to empower other women, and seeing all of them not just making waves, but making tsunamis is certainly empowering.

The world is currently in a very delicate and volatile place. So, when in doubt, take a deep breath and remember, us girls can do anything we set our minds to. No matter how few people believe us.

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Find your community of people who support survivors on the Hey! VINA app today!